Crawford Lake Conservation Area

We’ve visited a lot of different trails as a family, but I can honestly tell you this was one of my very favorites! The grounds were immaculately kept, there was ample space to explore and run around, the scenery was breathtaking, and there was a boardwalk that was long enough that it was worth the travel time/visit, but not so long that the kids couldn’t manage it! Given how far the drive is, I would definitely plan to take plenty of snacks or, if possible for your family, a full picnic, albeit keeping in mind the time limit in your booking (explained below). It’s a really worthwhile outing and there’s so much to learn and take in from your visit!

Note:
Below I’ll address different elements that I take into consideration when planning in the hopes of clarifying any accessibility or suitability questions you may have as you plan your visit! These are all based on our personal experience (our oldest son is autistic and non-verbal, and we are a family of 5 with a 7-year-old, 6-year-old and 2-year-old). I would suggest doing a quick search to ensure availability before heading out to avoid any disappointment (especially with changing health protocols, potential grounds upkeep, events, etc).

Address
3115 Conservation Road
Milton, ON, L9T 2X3

Parking
Once you’ve shown your reservation and entered the gates, there are a few different parking lots on site with ample parking. We were able to park right near the visitor centre, which was very close to the beginning of the Woodland and Side Bruce Trails, as well as the Crawford Lake Trail we ultimately ended up doing! There’s a very helpful map that you can download from the website, otherwise there are markings and signs posted throughout.

Terrain/Accessibility
We were able to complete the boardwalk trail that goes around Crawford Lake with E in a stroller and both boys walking. It was completely manageable with the stroller (summer 2020) and smooth enough that the boys were able to safely walk it! N did get a splinter when he touched the rail, so that’s something to be cautious of with kids especially, but otherwise, we found it perfectly family-friendly! There are photos in the gallery below which will give you an idea as to the width and construction of the boardwalk itself, if you need any clarification. I liked that it was enclosed and that the boys could walk ahead independently without the fear of them detouring!

Having said that, we did attempt an alternate trail before finding the boardwalk and a family very kindly stopped us and suggested we go no further with the stroller, especially since the terrain was much more difficult to navigate (large rocks, exposed roots, more muddy than gravel, etc). If you’re looking for a more intense experience through the forest area, that’s definitely an option, but if smoother terrain is needed or you have very young kids, I’d suggest sticking to the boardwalk that surrounds the lake.

Quiet Spots
There were little areas just off of the boardwalk, complete with benches and an area to rest/ have some water and snack, etc., that we came across every now and then (I share an example in the gallery below). This was great to re-group, get an alternate view of the lake and pull out snacks or sunscreen, without causing traffic on the boardwalk itself! It was also fairly enclosed, so if M or I sat at the little entrance, the kids could walk around the little deck area with no issue.

Size of Location/ Busyness
The reservation site (located in the cost section below) has a status bar that provides information regarding how busy the park currently is. Having said that, it is very large, with many offshoots and plenty of space to explore. Even when we visited in the middle of a summer day, there was still plenty of space and we didn’t feel overwhelmed or crowded at any point!

Variety of Activities

There is so much to do here! We mainly stuck to the boardwalk, but there’s also the Hide and Seek Trail where you’ll find a variety of beautiful, large wood carvings that seamlessly blend into the surroundings, and where you can learn about species at risk in Ontario. At the Longhouse Village you can visit, “seasonal exhibits that explore contemporary Indigenous art and culture” which is both fascinating and an important and meaningful experience.

Cost
Reservations must be made in order to visit and there are time limits to your visit! You can reserve by clicking the link here!

The website clearly states that, “Support persons for people with disabilities are free of charge.” We really appreciated this and it helped keep the cost of the outing down for our family.

Otherwise, the fees are as follow:

Adult (15-64) $9.50 +HST
Senior (65 & over )$7.50 +HST
Child (5-14) $6.50 +HST
Child (4 & under) Free

For more information, check out:
Crawford Lake Conservation Area

Other helpful links in this series:
Summer Adventures & Accessibility!
What We Consider When Planning An Outing
Guild Park and Gardens
Glen Stewart Ravine


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